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How to clean painted walls and other painting maintenance tips

After a few stressful days, you finally find yourself with a newly painted interior, kitchen cabinets, or exterior (or maybe all three). However, if you want your new paint job to look fresh for years to come, it is going to take some maintenance. You don’t have to go overboard or invest a ton of time, but a little effort can go a long way in preserving the finish and keeping it durable for years to come. Here are some tips on how to clean painted walls, as well as a few other helpful tips. 

 

How to clean painted walls 

It’s as simple as soap and water. If you opted for a premium product like Sherwin Williams’ Duration or Emerald, you can clean the walls with a mixture of soap and water regardless of what sheen it is. That includes matte and flat, which typically aren’t as durable as satin or semi-gloss finishes. 

If you opted for SuperPaint, you will want to have at least a satin sheen to use soap and water. That’s because SuperPaint isn’t as durable as the other two products, and even water can remove the paint if you’re too rough with it. If you have a matte or flat SuperPaint finish, gently apply a damp cloth or sponge and then carefully dry it to remove dirt and stains.

To remove dirt and dust, you can also clean the walls with a dry microfiber cloth. This will collect all the dirt and dust lingering on your walls without scratching the paint. Letting your walls get too dusty or dirty can shorten the lifespan of the paint, so regularly dusting them is a great way to keep the walls looking fresh for a long time to come.

What about kitchen cabinets? Since cabinet paint has a higher point hardness, you can use some of the more common household cleaners on them. Just make sure to wipe away excess fluid, as it can stain the finish and ruin the paint job. 

Make sure you never use a magic eraser to clean painted walls.

Pro Tip: NEVER USE A MAGIC ERASER

Or anything overly abrasive for that matter. Magic erasers are particularly rough on painted walls because they are chemically abrasive. Even the most durable finishes will come off if you scrub them with a magic eraser. A sponge or damp cloth is more than sufficient for cleaning painted walls. If you want or think you need something a little stronger, just make sure it isn’t overly abrasive. 

You will also want to avoid hard textured tools like steel wool or brushes, as these can also chip the paint.A freshly painted home in Carmel, Indiana.

How to maintain a newly painted exterior

What about exterior paint work? Surely all you need is a good power wash, right? 

Well, no. Power washing is a bit too aggressive for a painted exterior, and it’s more likely to simply rip the paint off than clean it. Luckily, exteriors don’t need a lot of maintenance, and the same methodology for interior walls can be applied outside. 

Just take a soft car brush and some warm soapy water and gently wash the areas with dirt and grime. If you notice any mold, algae, or moss, you can mix a tiny amount of bleach into the water to help remove it and ensure it doesn’t grow back.

If you have plants or other landscaping that you want to protect near your house, you can use white vinegar instead of bleach. The vinegar will help sanitize the area you are cleaning, but it is not toxic so it will not harm the plants around it if it gets on the ground. 

Hopefully, you won’t have to do this too often, since high-quality exterior paints are protective coatings against issues like mold and mildew.

That’s it really. Exteriors don’t require anything uniquely tough, and being too abrasive can actually damage the paint, just like the paint inside. 


As you can see, maintaining and cleaning painted walls is not overly complicated. Some common sense and basic cleaning routines are all you need to keep your new walls and siding looking fresh for years to come. 

If you have a job you need done, you can always fill out our form below for a free estimate. Heritage Custom Painting handles exteriors, interiors, and kitchen cabinets, so we can upgrade your home no matter what your needs are.

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